As the city of Jackson prepares to adopt its next budget later this month, it is also preparing residents for a planned increase in electric rates.
The Jackson City Council is expected at its next meeting Dec. 18 to adopt a $10.8 million budget for 2019. The budget for 2018 was $10.58 million. Included in the 2019 spending plan is a 5 percent increase in what electrical customers pay the city for power.
Jackson Mayor Kay Pippin said the city has not raised rates since 2012. “I don’t know of very many products or services that have seen no kind of increase in seven years,” Pippin said. “But that will be needed for this upcoming budget.”
Pippin noted that while there has been an overall decline in electric use, attributed in part to energy efficient appliances, the city must operate its utility and reap a profit to sustain its other governmental operations.
“Everybody is buying or replacing with energy efficient equipment and it is causing a decline in the use of electricity,” she said.
Pippin said average electric customers, who use roughly 1,100 kW per month, could expect to see an increase in their bill of just under $7 per month.
She said most of the city’s electric revenue comes from residential customers, whereas in the past the city supplied large amounts of electricity to local textile mills.
“This goes back to the heydays of the ’90s and early 2000s when there were textile mills here and they were pumping 24/7 with antiquated equipment and using a whole lot of electricity,” she said. “That day has long been gone. We are largely now dependent on residential (customers). You could build two more subdivisions and not equal what one mill was using during that period of time.”
Cindy Murray, the city’s financial administrator, noted that revenues from city electricity, water and sewer operations are all expected to be lower next year while health care costs for the city are expected to increase. The budget also includes higher costs for employee uniforms and equipment, as well as a 3-percent salary increase for eligible employees.